Poll: Young Adults Rejecting Obamacare

Obama's staunchest supporters are disillusioned with the healthcare law and the President himself

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David Maxwell / EPA

Young voters, a cornerstone of Barack Obama‘s political coalition, are growing increasingly disillusioned with the President and skeptical of his signature healthcare law, according to a new national poll released Wednesday.

The survey, conducted by Harvard University’s Institute of Politics, found that 56% of Americans aged 18 to 29 disapprove of Obama’s signature domestic initiative, compared to just 39% who support the law. Among these so-called “millennials,” who twice propelled Obama to the Oval Office, the President’s job approval slipped to 41%, the lowest mark recorded the poll has recorded.

“We’re now seeing a sea change among this critical demographic,” said Trey Grayson, the director of the institute. “You’re seeing cracks in his base.”

Political ratings rise and fall, and it is not surprising to see Obama’s dip at a low moment for his presidency. But the poll may feed deeper concerns about the law’s structural challenges. In order to keep costs down, the Affordable Care Act must lure enough young, healthy people into the insurance marketplace to offset increased coverage of older or sicker people. But in the Harvard survey, just 29% of uninsured millennials reported that they were likely to enroll. Low levels of enrollment among the young and healthy could hike costs, thereby further deterring healthy people from enrolling—and triggering the so-called death spiral that health-care experts say remains a worst-case scenario.

Amid the drumbeat of criticism over the rocky debut of Healthcare.gov, young voters are increasingly suspicious that the law will hike their healthcare costs without bolstering the quality of their care. Just 17% of respondents said they expected their care to improve, compared to 44% who expect their coverage to worsen. One in two millennials expect the price tag on their plan to rise, while just one in 10 predict their costs will fall and 36% expect them to stay about the same.

“Young people have been the outliers. They’ve been the folks who have been the most optimistic and the most trusting of the President,” John Della Volpe, polling director at the Harvard Institute of Politics, told reporters in a conference call on Wednesday morning. But at this point, he added, “there are very few aspects of the healthcare initiative that they approve of. They think quality will decrease and prices will increase.”

The unveiling of the poll comes as the President hosts a youth summit in Washington on Wednesday, the second event in a three-week push to enumerate the merits of the Affordable Care Act ahead of a Dec. 23 enrollment deadline for coverage beginning Jan. 1. The survey highlights the challenges Obama faces as he gears up to refocus attention on the benefits of his biggest domestic accomplishment. Republicans framed the numbers as evidence that Obama’s staunchest supporters are now awakening to the law’s consequences. “Millennials are seeing the negative impacts of Obamacare, especially rising costs,” said Elliott Echols, the Republican National Committee’s national youth director.

Obamacare is not the only keystone issue on which the President draws lower grades, according to the poll. Respondents are now less confident in Obama’s handling of Iran (37% favorable, down 10 percentage points since April), the economy (33%, down nine percentage points, amid lower unemployment and soaring financial markets) and the federal budget deficit (28% favorable, down eight points).

If there is a bright spot for the White House, it is that the survey was conducted amid unremittingly negative news stories about the bungled Obamacare website, patients kicked off their plans and the potential for lost doctors. The Obama Administration, as well as the law’s many supporters, believe the public will embrace the overhaul once they begin to realize its benefits. With the glitch-addled website working more smoothly, online enrollment is rising after a sluggish start.

“What’s important for everybody to remember is not only that the law has already helped millions of people but that there are millions more who stand to be helped,” Obama said Tuesday. “We’ve got to make sure they know that. And I’ve said very clearly that our poor execution in the first couple months on the website clouded the fact that there are a whole bunch of people who stand to benefit.”

The Harvard poll, which surveyed 2,089 18-to-29 year olds in English and Spanish from Oct. 30 to Nov. 11, has a margin of error of 2.1%.

200 comments
JonNewman
JonNewman

Another disingenuous right wing lie. Most of them will be covered by their parents plans thanks to Obamacare.Time should know better to post this crap.

simonzee197340
simonzee197340

I hope young people wise up to this clown. As China embraces democracy this clown goes the other way.

Obama would know nothing of taking on the weight of a nation through personal suffering and sacrifice like Mandela. This is the difference between a construct of the left and the real world. Obama and his pre-fab self are a creation of Hollwood along with his values as he admitted himself. When will the left just admitt that these constructs and creations to cater for the cult of personality and their politically correct religion are dangerous duds as they seek to establish their own flailing legacy. Martin Luther King and Mandela had soul because they were not tools and stooges of the left. The left just rallied around them and smothered them as trophies. A bit like like they "pretend" to speak for and represent the bests interests of blacks or Latinos or Hispanics. All trophies no action. Mandela and Martin Luther King belong to God not to illiberal leftist clowns in Hollwood and the media.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

Funny you should mention Mandela. A man the GOP under Reagan fought tooth and nail against. It isn't the Democrats that are trying to disenfranchise voters and change the way electoral votes are distributed in blue leaning states. Guess which party is? It is also amusing how both Mandela and Martin Luther King were leftists and both spoke out often against the crimes of the Right Wing. Educate yourself about history and then post again.

thibleads123
thibleads123

I've been saying this was going to happen and yet this administration and his herded sheep flock still don't get it!  By pushing this through instead of fixing things before it went live, the young, the people this program needs to work now have no faith in the exchange or the president.  I didn't need anyone to tell me that young adults for the most part don't really care about insurance and if they did, it would have to be a significant savings for a young person to feel obligated to make a change!   The stupidity is maddening!  then again, the other theory is that the president and his sheep knew this was going to bomb and it was all part of the plan.  I'm not saying, I'm just saying, he sure did tell a lot of lies!  Hard to know or tell what' he's sincere about!

stephengreen732
stephengreen732

Why on earth did these bureaucrats think something like this would fly. Of course the young wage earners are healthy and won't

put themselves into a system like that. Remember the Clinton's. There's a large industry working against all of us. Managed health care? When will Washington get it.?

Likely_Suspect
Likely_Suspect

Not that it will "fix" Obamacare - but everyone in Congress & all their aides should have to enroll in Obamacare without any subsidy - that's the law.  Obama famously told Joe the Plumber "it was a good thing to spread the wealth around;" how about the pain?

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@Likely_Suspect A yes Joe the Plumber, the fictional Tea Party hero who was neither a Plumber or even named Joe. And who was a Tax Deadbeat to boot.

tpaine
tpaine

The ObamaCon Tax is just another socialist redistribution scheme.  This time from working Americans to welfare recepients, healthly to unhealthy and young to old.  The Republicans were right - the Democrats and Obama were lying through their teeth to grab even more power and money.

barneydidit
barneydidit

@tpaine "Socialist redistribution scheme"...too funny. I haven't had to use our county's Sheriff Dept in the 18 years I've been living here, but I still have to pay taxes that fund it.  That's how a society works Paine, everyone contributes something. If you enjoy the "every man for himself" scenario, I may suggest Somalia, no unpleasant regulations there to burden you. 

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@tpaine You know what is the biggest redistribution scheme? Reagan's Voodoo economics. They have been taking money from the poor and the middle class for the last 30 years.

tpaine
tpaine

@barneydidit @tpaine there is a purpose for government.  It's spelled out in our Constitution.  I missed the Article dealing with "provide every deadbeat in society with health care insurance."  Want to enlighten me on that one?

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@tpaine @mantisdragon91 You mean the 3% unemployment and surplus that GWB got from Clinton and proceeded to turn into the worst fiscal collapse of our lifetime.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@tpaine @barneydidit  I also missed the article of where our Government should provide subsidies for big Oil and big Agriculture and yet the Right Wing seems to have no issue with that. Helping people get Health Care seems just a tad more important.

tpaine
tpaine

@mantisdragon91 the federal government should not be taxing business period.  I understand it's a "hidden tax" and that's the kind Democrats like the most.

The whole income tax system should be replaced with a national sales tax on everything but "necessities."  Fairer, flater and the money "turns" in the economy.

tpaine
tpaine

@mantisdragon91 @tpaine the GOP was in control of Congress (and the nation's purse strings) when we had the last balanced federal budget - '95-'99.  Bill Clinton vetoed that legislation three times and shut the government down twice.  Now, of course, he takes credit.

Don't you find it interesting that the economy IMPROVED during the last shutdown?  Maybe there's a lesson to be learned there?

tpaine
tpaine

@mantisdragon91 @tpaine actually, the biggest "wage gap" is today under Mad King Obama's socialist policies.  He's economically hurting the very people who elected him and yet, you continue to defend him.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

I find it even more interesting that after 6 years of the GOP controlling everything we had a once in a lifer time fiscal collapse.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

A national sales tax benefits the rich since they spend a large portion of their income outside the country and put even  more of it into speculative investments which would avoid the tax. It would also penalize the poor which spend almost all their income on day to day needs. Of course you would be for that. Protect the rich, soak the poor and middle class. A GOP policy since the 80s.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

Remind us again which party is fighting tooth and nail to avoid raising minimum wage? Which party has done their hardest to weaken and destroy unions destroying workers ability to gain leverage in pay and benefit negotiations?

tpaine
tpaine

@mantisdragon91 no, the "rich" will pay more because there are no "exemptions."  Since "necessities" aren't taxed, the "poor" would still pay nothing.  The states with no income tax have already proven it's a better system.  They've grown during the Democrat's Great Recesssion.

You can say it, but the truth is the "poor", minorities and uneducated are in WORSE shape under this regime of self-centered, self-serving Democrats who, provably, wil lie at the drop of a hat to increase their wealth and power.

Not only are they bankrupting this generation, but the next with their out-of-control spending which is what's really killing the economy and jobs.

b2martinb2
b2martinb2

Let's see,........... you want me to pay for insurance that subsidies the, wealth holding, boomer generation............... while I pay my medicare deduction............ and the 17 trillion dollar debt left for me? ............Just one question Mr President, Do you think I'm stupid?

thibleads123
thibleads123

@b2martinb2  You may not be stupid, but the problem is stupidity!  The stupidity, the ignorance and head in the sand morons that voted for the donkey are the exact reason gov't, politicians and the powers that be feel the need to make decisions for us!  He started this socialized healthcare to insure some 12 million without insurance!  Sounds great in theory!  However, with the 10+ states that are exempt, the hundreds of unions exempt, all of Washington exempt and the millions losing their insurance that 'WERE TOLD YOU CAN KEEP YOUR INSUANCE", we now have more people uninsured than we did before this fiasco started!  Put that in your pipe and choke on that for a minute! 

michaellaguardia
michaellaguardia

The individual market is designed for young people to pay other people's bills essentially. We young people are benefitting others and not ourselves. We live in a world that will essentially put us in a bad position. As a young man I see this happening everywhere and it is just not fair. Well until this is fixed, I guess I will be getting my bills paid for by young individuals in my future years. 


Likely_Suspect
Likely_Suspect

@michaellaguardia  Hope & change, fundamentally transform America, - that's the problem with socialism, eventually you run out of other people's money. Now they're coming for your money... we tried to warn you, but we weren't cool enough to listen to.

biggoofer
biggoofer

Who is delusional here, Americans or King Hussain?

In a gimmy gimmy culture, expecting anyone - in any age group - to pay for something they don't want is delusional.

There are not enough mushy brained meat-heads Barack can bribe/coerce with subsidies to make this mess successful. 

Even dummies know that a FREE contraceptive Coverage is worth nothing if they have to pony up first $6300 in deductibles.

To make matters worse, almost half the country is still populated by gun trotting, religious bitter clinging right-wing terrorists.


In short, Obamacare geese is on a slow cooking stove. It should be done by November 2014 midterms.



GayleLoveland
GayleLoveland

----The one salient fact so often overlooked by supporters of the ACA is this: the poor (uninsured) COST far more in terms of healthcare than the middle-class--NOT because of prior lack of healthcare, but due to personal CHOICES they make. For example, lower-income people have much higher rates of: smoking, alcoholism and drug abuse. Not to mention the fact they tend to exercise less, eat more junk food and less fruits/vegetables, and engage in more high-risk behaviors......

----When the issue of "fairness/equity" in healthcare is given as the reason for supporting the ACA, I hear very few supporters addressing the very real question: Is it FAIR that middle-class taxpayers (who engage far less in the above-mentioned behaviors which result in chronic--and expensive---health-related conditions) should be forced to SUBSIDIZE others' bad choices??? 

tom.litton
tom.litton

@GayleLoveland They are already being subsidized.  Hospitals are required to treat them.   We just want to make it more efficient and effective (not only for those that do abuse their bodies, but also for those that don't, of which there are millions).

boycottlove
boycottlove

Huh, nobody liking Obamacare?  Shock.